1911 School, Feeding Part 2 of 3.

The 1911 style pistol with internal extractor, as originally designed.

The extractor’s role in feeding is often misunderstood and underestimated. Most important is the deflection. That is, the amount of the wall behind the claw that protrudes beyond the guide block into the breech area…and this is where I’ve found problems in pistols produced in the last 20 years or so. Specifically, there’s been too much. Sometimes, far too much.

There should be between .008 and .012 inch of that wall showing beyond the block, with .015 inch as an absolute maximum and even that much makes it necessary to reduce tension more than I like to see in a working pistol. See to those dimensions, and the gun will feed so smoothly that you can barely tell that it fed at all.

The nose of the extractor must not contact the forward angle of the case extractor groove, and the tip of the claw must not make contact with the bottom oo the groove. This calls for a claw depth of between .032 and .036 inch with .032 being the bare minimum and .038 inch as an absolute maximum. The bottom corner of the claw should be lightly radiused and the bottom corner of the wall should be lightly broken at a 45 degree angle. If deflection is correct, there’s no need to use a heavy bevel on the bottom corner of the wall, and that can be a serious detriment to clean ejection if taken just a little too far. Much better to see to proper deflection and do minimum work on the wall.

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2 Responses to 1911 School, Feeding Part 2 of 3.

  1. RON April 26, 2019 at 9:17 am #

    WHAT IS THE PROPER PROCEDURE FOR LOADING ONE IN THE CHAMBER AND 7 IN THE CLIP. COLT NEW AGENT. HAMMER DOWN WITHOUT DECOCKER. I DON’T LIKE COCKED AND LOCKED EVEN THOUGH IT IS SAID TO BE SAFE AND PROPER.

    I AM THINKING OF GETTING A DOUBLE ACTION, BUT LOVE THE 1911.

    THANK YOU.

  2. John Travis April 28, 2019 at 4:58 am #

    The pistol was designed to be carried any way that you choose, including hammer down on a hot chamber.

    Lowering the hammer carries some risk, but as long as you;re careful and take your time, it can be done safely. If you haven’t already done so, practice it with an empty gun and be sure that it’s pointed in a safe direction when you go live. There’s a video here that demonstrates the proper technique for lowering the hammer.

    To load the chamber, load it from the magazine…then remove the magazine and top it off.

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